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CSIRO receives coal mining research funding

CSIRO

The Australian Commonwealth Scientific Research Organisation (CSIRO) has recently been awarded A$3m in funding from the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP), to aid its efforts in improving safety, efficiency and environmental impact throughout the Australian coal mining industry. The funding package will enable CSIRO Exploration & Mining to undertake nine important research projects.

ACARP executive director Mark Bennetts explained: “We are delighted to work with CSIRO. Their capabilities help us deliver important benefits to the coal industry. This new funding extends a long and successful history of collaboration between the industry and CSIRO to develop safer and more efficient technologies, such as the Longwall Automation project that has now moved from demonstration to commercialisation.”

The leader of CSIRO’s ‘Maximising the Value of Mining’ research Theme, Dr Hua Guo, has confirmed the new projects will cover a wide range of issues that the industry has identified as current concerns. One major project will develop navigation and automation systems for an underground continuous miner, designed to improve operational safety and efficiency. The organisation regards the project as a natural progression from its previous longwall automation work.

Other projects designed to improve safety and efficiency include; improving dust control on longwalls, designing and building an intrinsically safe geophone for underground coal mining, reducing diesel exhaust emissions underground, estimating pit wall strength, reducing or eliminating dust in draglines, and measuring the performance of low-density explosives for open-cut mining.

Projects to improve the environmental impacts of coal mining will include gas drainage while reducing coal mine greenhouse gas emissions, and studies to reduce the effect of longwall mining on groundwater systems.

“ACARP is Exploration & Mining’s number one customer,” Dr Guo says. “The new work will enable us to continue to make a significant contribution to the international competitiveness and sustainability of Australia’s mining industry and the nation’s long-term prosperity.”
 
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